The more, the merrier: Group services can be lucrative for spas, and they fall in line with the experience today’s clients are seeking.
One of the most defining characteristics of a spa day is the opportunity to escape into a private haven. But a somewhat recent culture shift is uprooting this long-held expectation. The widespread—and in many ways isolating—integration of technology into our daily lives has birthed a demand for more communal relaxation experiences. Savvy spas are taking advantage of this new reality by offering group services, which may include anything from bridal parties to a guys’ night out, corporate events and beyond.
Not only do such offerings align spas with consumer trends, but they’re also a major boon to business. According to Mintel’s 2018 look at what’s influencing consumerism in 2019 and beyond, social isolation and total well-being were listed as two of the six main trends, causing the research firm to conclude that companies—or spas—that create opportunities for physical and virtual community will reap considerable rewards.
Most notably, group services fit right in with the trending communal interests of millennials and generation Z, with whom co-working and even co-living spaces are on the rise. “Younger groups spa differently from baby boomers or generation X,” notes Nancy Griffin, founder of Contento Marketing, a strategic spa marketing firm. “They’re particularly open to parties and groups because they like the social aspect of the wellness experience.” But it’s certainly not necessary for businesses to choose one generational clientele over another. “At the end of the day,” continues Griffin, “what a spa offers should be about lifestyle and well-being.”
Face Haus, with locations across the U.S., regularly hosts facial parties complete with bartenders, DJs or local fare, per the client’s request. And its group events aren’t always about money. “We’re very aware that we provide a meaningful service, so we like to pay it forward with local do-gooders,” says Namrata Gupta, Face Haus COO. “We’ve hosted nurses, as well as teachers right before they go back to school—all compliments of the Haus. Yes, totally free! It’s our way of shining a light on the people doing good in the community at large.”
It may sound counterintuitive to provide such services pro bono, but plenty of spas report that hosting groups—for free or otherwise—helps organically grow business. Gupta says that the demand has kept Face Haus’ marketing, retail and service teams on their toes coming up with new offerings, product assortments, booking features and promotions. “These packages have opened up the brand to a wider user net, making our customer acquisition significantly diverse,” she adds.
Group services present an opportunity to bring in consumers who otherwise may not visit your spa or purchase products, and then turn them into loyal clients who generate more revenue. Marisa Tom, marketing director of Texas-based spa Milk + Honey, says simple word of mouth has helped steadily grow the popularity of its group services for 13 years. “Loyal clients provide the best form of advertising: social validation,” she says. “They enjoy group services for the same reasons they enjoy them individually: It’s an exceptionally relaxing, therapeutic and friendly spa experience. Being able to unwind and bond with friends and family at the same time only sweetens the deal.”
Join the Party
Before you start inviting the masses to your spa, there are a number of things to consider. “For example, do you have the operational bandwidth to provide an exceptional experience? And do group services align with your policies?” posits Smith. The following list will help you decide if such offerings are indeed a fit for your business.
Space: Face Haus locations are designed for communal spa experiences, but many day spas are not. You must be certain that you can accommodate both the size and volume of groups. Griffin suggests repurposing areas of the spa that aren’t as profitable as intended for communal treatments. For example, she points out that spas unable to market something like a hydrotherapy tub might consider replacing it with three or four pedicure stations. If that’s not possible? “Check out your neighborhood: There may be a place where you can host group services outside of your space,” says Griffin. “Also, look at pop-up opportunities.”
Services: This will, of course, depend upon your clientele. Face Haus specializes in skin care, so it hosts facial parties. Milk + Honey, on the other hand, has an extensive menu with a full range of luxe treatments, so it provides custom-designed group services.
Spas catering primarily to bridal parties could focus on blowouts and makeup services, and mani/pedis tend to be a favorite among all sorts of groups, as they pair well with other social experiences: conversation, drinks, food. But facials and massages can also be complemented by mimosas, smoothies and local fare. “Go beyond champagne and a mani/pedi, and think about how you can get people involved, like having them create their own custom products or providing something educational,” suggests Griffin.
Pricing: Groups generally gather at spas for special occasions, which means they’re willing to splurge. That said, Griffin notes that you may want to offer a discount, depending upon the number of people being treated. “If there’s volume—say, 10 pedicures—then it’s appropriate to comp the person booking it, or give one free,” she explains. Smith points out that you should also take spa operations into account. “We don’t offer large discounts for groups,” she says. “Coordinating multiple treatments takes up time, and it’s a lot more work than your average appointment.” Ultimately, you have to understand your market and its unique price sensitivities.
Take a peek at some top communal offerings.
Milk + Honey: The average Milk + Honey group experience includes six people with a total price range of $600 to $675.
- Signature Massage (60 min./$115-$120) uses Swedish techniques tailored to clients’ needs, focusing on relaxation and stress relief.
- The m + h Manicure (30 min./$40) and m + h Pedicure (45 min./$60) include exfoliation and a light massage, in addition to nail shaping, cuticle maintenance and polish.
“Signature Massage is ideal for groups that prefer quiet relaxation in between spending time together, whereas a mani/pedi allows groups to connect with one another in the same room,” says Summer Smith, Milk + Honey director of operations.
Face Haus: The average Face Haus party includes six people with a total price range of $550 to $600.
- The Haus Special (50 min./$65) combines with Power to the Pores (50 min./$20) to provide event-ready skin, featuring a hydrating oxygen blast and more time spent performing extractions, respectively.
- Lip Laugh Love (10 min./$10) is a popular add-on that addresses parched pouts and laugh lines.
“These offerings work in just about any setting, including a group or ‘Haus Party’ booking,” notes Face Haus COO Namrata Gupta.
This story first appeared in the December issue of DAYSPA Magazine. To receive the magazine, subscribe here.